LAFAYETTE — After being unable to clinch the Sagamore Conference title Friday night, the Crawfordsville Athenians were back in action taking on the Lafayette Central Catholic Knights. After a strong opening quarter which saw the Athenians lead 16-7, the Knights caught fire in the second and tied the game at 29 heading into halftime. The home team would ride that momentum into the second half and eventually hand the Athenians (11-5 6-1 SAC) their second straight loss by a final score of 61-54.
Tanner Sterrett scored 11-straight points in that crucial second quarter which cut a 12-point CHS lead to just one. The Knights made nine 3-pointers in the game as the Athenians were never able to run them off the 3-point line.
“Our defensive intensity in the first quarter was really good,” Coach David Pierce said. “That run in the second quarter gave them the fire they needed, and our defense had some lapses to help aid that. They really played hard after that. Kudos to them, they shot it very well tonight.”
Jesse Hall led all scorers in the game with 20 points for the Athenians. Alex Kelleman added 13 and Ty Lynas scored 11. Central Catholic also had three players score in double figures led by Clark Barrett with 19 pts. Brenner Oliver added in 14 and Sterrett finished with 13.
Central Catholic Coach Dave Barrett knew his team would be up against a high-powered Athenian offense which averages nearly 70 points per game, but he also knew his team, which features seven seniors, would be up for the challenge.
“Our kids played like how seniors are supposed to play,” Barrett said. “I think once we got the lead we did a good job of handling what they threw at us. We held our composure and made some nice plays and just played good solid defense. We helped at the basket when we needed to and our guys were in the right position tonight.”
For the Athenians, their 54-point outing marks their second lowest point total of the season (52 in loss vs Parke Heritage). Pierce knows as the season enters its final week that his team will have to clean up some things heading into the post-season.
“Our defensive intensity just has get tougher,” he said. “We have some guys know playing some more minutes than they’re used to, so they’re going to have to learn to keep playing through rough patches. We’re still trying to figure out our point guard situation right know with Ian out (missed second straight game with wrist injury). We just have to back to the drawing board and fix some things this week.”
The Athenians will have two games left this week. First they travel to Benton Central on Tuesday before hosting Covington on Friday to conclude the regular season.